Student Success Story with Mark Hayes

By Mark Hayes

Today’s student success spotlight is with Mark Hayes. It’s our hope that we’re able to share a different story each week of how a past student has been able to significantly grow their freelance business by applying the concepts they learned from Double Your Freelancing (check out last week’s with Stefan Fidanov). 

If you feel your story would be a good fit, share why. We’re looking for more features for April, so apply today!

Mark Hayes runs a digital agency, called Tiger Tiger. His company is on track to increase its income by 300% this year, as a result of implementing the templates, approach and strategies from DYFR and DYFC.

We knew we had to feature Mark as one of our student success stories after he emailed us this:

“Your courses helped me to just land a $70k+ deal! In nine months I have built our agency to six-figures and five staff. Oh, and we are based in NZ, which bring its own unique challenges and issues.”

Let’s learn more about Mark, Tiger Tiger and how he’s built up a digital agency from scratch in less than a year!

Tiger Tiger

What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?

I had been working in marketing for other people’s companies and was getting frustrated with how client’s accounts were being handled. I also became sick and tired of being a wage slave.

I wanted to build something of my own, but at the same time I wanted to also start loving my work again. So I made the leap into establishing my own company, where I was the boss and I was in a position to set the direction of the company from who we took on as clients to how we did business with them.

It was pretty much what I expected.

“Freelancing will bring you some of the greatest highs you will ever experience and some of the biggest lows as well – but I wouldn’t do anything else.”

I established the company almost one year ago now and in that time I have been able to grow it from me working out of my bedroom to a six person agency in less than a year. We have now moved into our own offices located in the central business district and the office is big enough that I can fit another 14 people in it should the business continue to grow at its current rate.

What’s been most challenging thus far?

Dealing with client expectations. Sometimes they want the world – and they want it yesterday!

Did you ever want to quit or give up?

There have been times that I have been up at 3am working on a project to meet some insane client deadline and have wondered, “is this worth it?” I could be in a 9 – 5 job, where once I left the office, that would be it.

But then you have those moments where you get to work with some amazing clients and help them take their business in the right direction. That makes it worth it.

What were you struggling the most with when you ran into Double Your Freelancing Rate?

Communicating our value to clients. It’s way too easy for them to just look at the price without understanding that marketing is an investment and that you need to look at the long-term return.

What are some big successes you’ve had recently?

We just won a $70k account! But also thanks to Brennan’s material we now close deals at a much higher rate than we ever used to.

I have read everything twice – the first time it helped me set our minimum deal size at $1,000, but now after reading and putting into action some of the other stuff he has written about I was able to close a $15K deal for two weeks worth of work!

“We were able to invoice 50% up-front and will collect the remainder on delivery.”

The second reading of the material came about after I recommended them to a friend, who said I should re-read them as it had been updated since I purchased. We took the templates that were now included and made our own versions. We instantly saw an increase in conversions and sales!


What are some specific strategies or pieces of advice that have helped you grow?

  1. Focus on ROI to the clients when writing the proposal, not the price.
  2. Don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth. If you are going to be doing a lot of work, you need to be charging for it and making money – you are not a charity.
  3. Roadmapping works! Clients love it and it allows you to get paid while you are mapping the project out with the client.

What are you most excited about for your business in 2015?

We have moved into our very first proper office (no more shared office space). The company is growing at a fantastic rate and we are picking up the clients we are wanting to pick up without having to compromise.

“Everything is rainbows and sunshine!”

MarkMark Hayes is the  founder of Tiger Tiger, a digital marketing agency based in Auckland, New Zealand,  A little over one year ago Mark took the opportunity of being made redundant to step forth on a path to create a unique and leading edge agency that within the first 12 months has already turned over six figures and continues to move up the growth curve.

From humble beginnings in his bedroom to a shared office environment, Tiger Tiger has grown to have their own funky and inspiring workspace located in the centre of Auckland and developed a solid reputation that sees its client base continue to grow and the diversity of the client mix evolve from small organisations to multinationals, and clients based in a number of countries including America, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and right across New Zealand.

Through Mark’s leadership, the Tiger Tiger team of six passionate creatives continues to push the boundaries of the traditional digital space and drive its clients to the forefront of the digital space as it continues to evolve. Mark is also the author of “The Ultimate Growth Hacking Sourcebook,” a recently released  30,000 word “bible” for the growth hacking community.

Mark has developed an AWESOME playbook as a result of DYFR. If you ask him nicely in the comments, maybe he’ll share it?